Britain's Psychic Challenge

#2
Chris French can't bring himself to admit any non-physical explanation, and says she's picking up cues - needs more testing. There is no amount of tests that would convince this man, it's "cues all the way down". The programme format has no time for further tests of course, so the skeptic has the final word and reality remains safe from weird.
 
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#3
I agree. At least he admitted he was impressed. But on the second go around he was actually the one accompanying her, so he would have to be the one providing any possible cues. From what I see from the video, he seemed to have trailed behind her a majority of his test. However, the video was interesting and demonstrated the unique ability of this individual (regardless of the explanation for the ability), which suprised a hardened skeptic.
 
#4
I remember the programme being transmitted and thinking some people just have the ability or knack. It only becomes bizarre if people think others shouldn't have the knack of sensing the proximity of other people. But then why should prodigies be able to remember complex musical arrangements and notate them afterwards, as Mozart did of Allegri's Miserere Mei, or recall a cityscape down to the last finial after a moment's glance? They just can!
 
#5
When I watched the video, particularly the woodland, it struck me as the kind of place with which I'm familiar, somewhere I go to switch off from the cares of the world. When Diane Lazarus talked of listening to her inner voice, I thought, "that's what I do too". However in my case it isn't in order to demonstrate psychic powers, but simply because it is a valuable and worthwhile thing to do.

It reminded me of once when I was visiting some ancient site, a place I'd been to often. On this occasion it was a warm sunny day and I just sat for a while, with a book to read if I wished. At some point I looked up from the book and gazed across the site and saw a colourful* parade of figures ceremoniously walking into the central area. Well, there were no people there, the place was almost deserted apart from one or two other visitors. What I'd seen was I think something which took place a few thousand years ago at that location.

On subsequent or previous occasions I never experienced anything like that - but it was no less real for that. The whole idea that something must be repeatable on demand in order for it to be valid is not always a useful tool for discerning truth from falsehood.

edit
* colourful. In this context, the colours were shades of reds, yellows and browns. Not bright colours that we might have nowadays, but entirely plausible for the ancient past.
 
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#6
@bsanch123 Pretty cool demonstration :) Thanks, I had not seen this.
There's also a second part with the same psychic lady which is also pretty impressive:


There is no amount of tests that would convince this man, it's "cues all the way down". The programme format has no time for further tests of course, so the skeptic has the final word and reality remains safe from weird.
Well, actually French was pretty impressed and didn't have any "skeptic final words", really... he just babble something about intuition which is basically irrelevant :D

cheers
 
#7
Well, actually French was pretty impressed and didn't have any "skeptic final words", really... he just babble something about intuition which is basically irrelevant :D
9:27 to 9:45 French says if "she is picking up on something (normal, by his tone) it's still very interesting". My normal may be his supernatural.
 
#9

Bart V

straw materialist
Member
#10
I agree. At least he admitted he was impressed. But on the second go around he was actually the one accompanying her, so he would have to be the one providing any possible cues. From what I see from the video, he seemed to have trailed behind her a majority of his test.
Him, a film crew, sound crew, director etc..
This was a "reality" show (i assume) for comercial TV. Having a show about psychics, and having nothing psychic happening must be a problem for such a show.

The temptation and motivation to help the psychic does exist, not saying that is what happened, but to me that is a far more plausible explanation than Diane having real powers.
However, the video was interesting and demonstrated the unique ability of this individual (regardless of the explanation for the ability), which suprised a hardened skeptic.
Since we do not have any way to know what really happened, this video does not demonstrate anything.

I cannot help but notice that the test with the hidden people would be an ideal sort of test for taking part in the James Randi's million dollar challenge , yet in the whole history of that test nobody demonstrated the same sort of ability in a similar test.

The test has ended now, mainly because the people for whom the test was intended (well known media psychics), simply did no apply.
The main criticism for the MDC was that it was not a scientific test, which is fair, but irrelevant since the test did not pretend to be anything else than a challenge.

Another critique was, that the MDC was not suited for testing paranormal abilities because they were small effects, only detectable through statistics over periods of time not practical for a one day test.This also does not apply to the test portrayed in the video.

It seems strange to me that proponents are very critical about the MDC (talking about it was even restricted to a certain thread on this forum for a while), but on the other hand are completely uncritical to a TV show that has ratings as only purpose.
 
#11
In the challenge she also located the place where police found a murdered girls body, correctly paired 5 couples from 10 photos, and out of 6 men in cells correctly identified the one who was an ex-con. Anyone who knows and personally interacts with someone who is genuinely psychic will be able to identify with this--someone repeatedly defying odds to the point where trying to attribute it off to cues, luck, and all the other usual suspects becomes becomes more unbelievable then accepting that psychic phenomena is real. This was years ago, and she was willing to put herself up to test, but I'd be surprised if French pursued any further tests with her.

Cheers,
Bill
 
#12
Do you really think that Chris French would want to be involved with a show that provides evidence for psychic abilities? That's completely against his m.o. If he had found any reason to detect fraud, cheating, or improper challenge design he would've been the first one to expose it.

This wasn't a scientific study, this was a challenge. I had posted the videos to discuss what was shown, which had nothing to do with the mdc.
 
#13
Him, a film crew, sound crew, director etc..
This was a "reality" show (i assume) for comercial TV. Having a show about psychics, and having nothing psychic happening must be a problem for such a show.

The temptation and motivation to help the psychic does exist, not saying that is what happened, but to me that is a far more plausible explanation than Diane having real powers.
Well I suppose we have to rely on the sceptics - who would have loved to expose the truth, if this was what was going on! For example, if they tested the participants over and over to get a positive result, the sceptics who were with Diane would surely have exposed this fact!
Since we do not have any way to know what really happened, this video does not demonstrate anything.
Since she was told nothing, but shown the picture, the video certainly shows that she was able to find all the relevant places where the crime was committed! By the sounds of it, she also fingered one of the men suspected of the crime! Obviously they will need other evidence to secure a conviction, but I'd say all 3 tests were pretty remarkable!
I cannot help but notice that the test with the hidden people would be an ideal sort of test for taking part in the James Randi's million dollar challenge , yet in the whole history of that test nobody demonstrated the same sort of ability in a similar test.

The test has ended now, mainly because the people for whom the test was intended (well known media psychics), simply did no apply.
The main criticism for the MDC was that it was not a scientific test, which is fair, but irrelevant since the test did not pretend to be anything else than a challenge.
Maybe they felt that the test would not be administered fairly! Whatever your profession is, would you like to be tested on your competence by a self appointed magician?
Another critique was, that the MDC was not suited for testing paranormal abilities because they were small effects, only detectable through statistics over periods of time not practical for a one day test.This also does not apply to the test portrayed in the video.

It seems strange to me that proponents are very critical about the MDC (talking about it was even restricted to a certain thread on this forum for a while), but on the other hand are completely uncritical to a TV show that has ratings as only purpose.
It really is amazing that you prefer the judgement of a stage magician to people like Chris French!

The only reason that discussion of the MDC was restricted to one thread, was that certain people wanted to derail as many threads as possible into the same discussion!

David
 
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#14
Nice. Thanks for that obfuscation malf. A "report" by chillzero who in his own words had a "hissy fit" when he heard of this. His "sketpticreport" says:

Diane’s main contribution to her winning status came from 2 particular challenges, both of which concerned locating “missing” people hidden within an area they were brought to. In both cases Diane thought for a few moments, and then walked off directly to the “bodies” by the most direct route. She found them both within minutes where even professional searchers had floundered a bit. It was admittedly quite surprising, but I didn’t feel that enough information was availble to us as viewers to fully consider the validity of the test.
Yeah and let's completely overlook the other two straight forward tests in which she "guessed" correctly while the odds were 1/720 against it. And of course viewers don't have enough information so we should listen to his biased babbling rather than looking at the source material that was witnessed by Chris French, an illusionist, a retired police chief inspector or the efforts of the trained military personnel who acted as controls...

Cheers,
Bill
 

Bart V

straw materialist
Member
#15
Well I suppose we have to rely on the sceptics - who would have loved to expose the truth, if this was what was going on! For example, if they tested the participants over and over to get a positive result, the sceptics who were with Diane would surely have exposed this fact!
Why would you give that as an example? that is almost certain not what happened.

I was suggesting that it was clearly possible for Diane to get information from someone of the crew, either on their own initiative, or in cooperation with the program makers.
If that would happen, they surely could have done that without anyone noticing. Do really you think this is impossible?

Remember the primary goal of making a show on commercial TV, is not to scientifically investigate psychics, it is to get as much viewers as possible for their advertisers.

Since she was told nothing, but shown the picture, the video certainly shows that she was able to find all the relevant places where the crime was committed! By the sounds of it, she also fingered one of the men suspected of the crime! Obviously they will need other evidence to secure a conviction, but I'd say all 3 tests were pretty remarkable!
But all that information must have been in the hands of the program makers, how else could they have judged her accuracy?.
So for the second video they also could have passed on information, again i am not saying that is what happened, but we also can not say id did not happen.
Maybe they felt that the test would not be administered fairly!
Or maybe they did not feel for performing in situations where they did not have control over the circumstances.
Whatever the reason, it stays remarkable that none of the big name psychics ever wanted to earn an easy million, while humilliating the skeptics at the same time.

And even if the test was not administered fairly, they could have taken the challenge, and subsequently exposed the JREF, by reporting how exactly they were not fair.
But again none did.
Whatever your profession is, would you like to be tested on your competence by a self appointed magician?
If what i did in my profession, looked like what magicians do, that would be appropriate.
Was Randi "a self appointed" magician? I do not really know what you mean by that, but i know he was highly regarded as a magician by his colleagues.
It really is amazing that you prefer the judgement of a stage magician to people like Chris French!
I prefer the judgement of a test that is performed under far better controls, a test performed without any change of information leakage.

I prefer that far above a test organized by an entity that has it as its primray mission to get eyeballs at screens.

Dr French was invited as a skeptic on this show, we do not know to what degree he had control over the protocol of these tests.
Maybe he should have thought twice to connect his name to this, i would really like to have his thoughts on that.

Whatever the case, since he was not the organizer of the tests, we can not use his precence as a validation for these tests

The only reason that discussion of the MDC was restricted to one thread, was that certain people wanted to derail as many threads as possible into the same discussion!

David
That is one interpretation of that sorry episode.
 
#17
Nice. Thanks for that obfuscation malf. A "report" by chillzero who in his own words had a "hissy fit" when he heard of this. His "sketpticreport" says:


Yeah and let's completely overlook the other two straight forward tests in which she "guessed" correctly while the odds were 1/720 against it. And of course viewers don't have enough information so we should listen to his biased babbling rather than looking at the source material that was witnessed by Chris French, an illusionist, a retired police chief inspector or the efforts of the trained military personnel who acted as controls...

Cheers,
Bill
Well. This is in CD forum, and she doesn't appear to have set the world alight in the last decade or so.
 
#18
Can you expand (other than posting articles from skeptic references)? The article I posted about her involvement with pd's is only a couple of years old.
 
#19
Why would you give that as an example? that is almost certain not what happened.

I was suggesting that it was clearly possible for Diane to get information from someone of the crew, either on their own initiative, or in cooperation with the program makers.
If that would happen, they surely could have done that without anyone noticing. Do really you think this is impossible?

Remember the primary goal of making a show on commercial TV, is not to scientifically investigate psychics, it is to get as much viewers as possible for their advertisers.
Of course, this does assume that Diane was utterly dishonest! It also ignores the fact that she did well on all three tests. I would imagine Chris French and the other sceptics would have been particularly keen to thwart any attempt at cheating on the second test. It was only the third test in which prior knowledge could have been useful.

One of the real problems in parapsychology is that you either go for repetitive, boring experiments that yield small (though cumulatively very significant) effects, or you go for more 'real life' investigations in which there are inevitably less tight controls - particularly if you rely for an explanation on deliberate fraud.
But all that information must have been in the hands of the program makers, how else could they have judged her accuracy?.
So for the second video they also could have passed on information, again i am not saying that is what happened, but we also can not say id did not happen.
Or maybe they did not feel for performing in situations where they did not have control over the circumstances.
Whatever the reason, it stays remarkable that none of the big name psychics ever wanted to earn an easy million, while humilliating the skeptics at the same time.
I think Randy would have made sure he won one way or another.
And even if the test was not administered fairly, they could have taken the challenge, and subsequently exposed the JREF, by reporting how exactly they were not fair.
But again none did.
Do you mean that you would have taken such an expose seriously!
If what i did in my profession, looked like what magicians do, that would be appropriate.
Was Randi "a self appointed" magician? I do not really know what you mean by that, but i know he was highly regarded as a magician by his colleagues.

I prefer the judgement of a test that is performed under far better controls, a test performed without any change of information leakage.
You have mountains of such tests, but the effect size goes down in very artificial conditions so it is necessary to rely on statistics! Better controls tend to be at the expense of real emotion - that seems to drive ψ. If you want to use a real murder, there is obviously some danger of information leakage, but with an artificial situation the emotional content is trivial by comparison.
I prefer that far above a test organized by an entity that has it as its primray mission to get eyeballs at screens.

Dr French was invited as a sceptic on this show, we do not know to what degree he had control over the protocol of these tests.
Maybe he should have thought twice to connect his name to this, i would really like to have his thoughts on that.
Well he had plenty of opportunity to voice any doubts that he had. People like Chris French have made their reputation out of scepticism, and the most you will ever get out of them is bafflement if things don't go their way. I don't suppose he enjoyed being stumped, but to give him some credit he only made a very half hearted attempt to waffle out of his predicament!

David
 
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